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Sycamore Pumpkin Fest
2014 is the 53rd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. Back in 1956, Wally Thurow, who is known as Sycamore’s "Mr. Pumpkin", began what was to become the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival when he displayed a few decorated pumpkins on his front lawn to turn Halloween into a time of fun and creativity. In 1962, through the efforts of Mr. Pumpkin and the Sycamore Lions Club, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival became an official celebration in Sycamore. The Courthouse lawn is the center of activities, including thousands of decorated pumpkins on display, there are also art and craft shows, a house walk, a pie eating contest, a carnival, a fun fair, a race and other events. The festival is concluded by a giant parade on Sunday afternoon.
Teutopolis Monastery Museum
See displays of early life in this German Catholic community, founded in 1838. The first Franciscans arrived in October 1858, and the three priests and six brothers quickly set about building a parish and friary.
Sandburr Run Golf Resort
42 single rooms and eight double rooms with kitchenettes. We also offer a 9 hole golf course and The Sand Trap Bar & Grill.
Indian Creek Vineyard
This unique winery includes a remodeled barn that serves as a wine shop and a bed and breakfast in a historic home overlooking the vineyard, all located on a sesquicentennial farm.
Tanger Outlet Center at Tuscola
Tanger Outlet Center offers a big city shopping experience without the big-city hassle. Brand-name stores at great prices including Coach, JCrew, UnderArmor, and Chico’s - over 40 brand name outlets! Check out our monthly special events, coupons and sales. Tanger Outlet Center is conveniently located off of I-57, exit 212 in Tuscola. Locations nearby include Champaign and Amish Country.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.
Japan House offers the public an opportunity to learn about traditional Japanese culture through tea ceremonies, workshops and special events through the year. The beautiful Japan House gardens are open from dawn to dusk for you to stroll through and enjoy. The Japan House closes during the summer. Call for information on tea ceremonies and tours.
Pygmalion Music Festival
Celebrating its tenth year, Pygmalion Music Festival returns with a vengeance to Champaign-Urbana taking over multiple venues, SXSW style. You can revel in tunes from CHVRCHES, American Football, Panda Bear, Real Estate, Tycho and dozens more. Coinciding with this unbeatable lineup, you’ve got the Made Fest, a two-day curated marketplace featuring handmade and vintage sellers, and the Literature Fest with authors and poets Peter Orner, Audrey Petty, Jamaal May and more. Sounds like a perfectly indie weekend.
Urbana's Market at the Square
Join thousands of residents and visitors during Market season and connect with growers at Urbana's Market at the Square. Choose locally-raised foods and treasure-hunt among the art and craft vendor booths. Gather information about local non-profits, schools and other community groups on our Community Row. Catch up with friends, take in a set from local performers, and enjoy the public square atmosphere the Market has to offer. Saturday morning at Urbana's Market at the Square is one of our city’s signature institutions. It’s a great way to kick off your weekend! Open May through November.
Matthiessen State Park
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for a special outing.
August Hill Winery
Visit the August Hill Winery & Illinois Sparkling Co. tasting room and experience locally-made handcrafted wines. Wine tastings and flights, wine gifts & accessories, gallery of local art, outdoor patio, private events. Open Monday - Thursday, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Friday - Saturday, 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM & Sun 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Belle of the Rock
The Belle of the Rock paddle boat tours are located at historic Starved Rock state park in Utica, Illinois (just 80 miles west of Chicago). In addition to the river tours, we provide canoes and kayaks. Call us today at 815-434-9200 to make your reservation.
Starved Rock State Park
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. Outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, paddle boat cruises, cross-country skiing, trolley rides, fishing and picnicking. Visitors can stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its cozy cabins.
Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort and Enchanted Forest
Discover a magical family getaway just beyond the glow of Chicago at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort. Nestled in the Starved Rock area of Illinois, Grizzly Jack's is an oasis of relaxation and adventure - a destination where water park fun meets natural wonder. Escape from the big city and enjoy a vacation in the scenic Northwoods at Grizzly Jack's - an unforgettable place to unwind, play, meet, dine and explore with family and friends.
Illinois River Winery
Come tour the winery, visit the tasting room and outdoor wine garden, featuring award-winning wines made in the Illinois River Valley. Open everyday!
Matthiessen State Park
Enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing and more in this state park known for its waterfalls, bluffs and canyons.
Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center
The Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center has several interactive displays, free videos on the park, hiking maps, and more. Trailheads Concessions & Gifts, also located here, is a great place to buy gifts, souvenirs, and snacks (fresh fudge, too)! The Visitor Center and Trailheads are open year-round.
Starved Rock State Park East Hike
Starved Rock State Park has a beautiful East Hike that offers canyons galore, each with slightly different shapes, sizes and colorings. At 6.4 miles of dirt terrain, this hike is moderately difficult. Cool, shady and overgrown with ferns, the canyons offer a plethora of trees and flowering plants—a true delight to explore. You’ll also encounter scenic overlooks 100 feet above the Illinois River. The real crowd pleasers at Starved Rock are the numerous sandstone canyons that were carved deep into the bedrock as upland streams drained into the Illinois River. Some noted canyons of worth to explore are Kaskaskia Canyon, Ottawa Canyon and Hennepin Canyon Overlook.
Starved Rock State Park West Hike
Starved Rock State Park West Hike offers a decidedly different set of attractions than its eastern counterpart. On this hike you’ll encounter a series of overlooks from wooded bluffs and rocky cliffs high above the Illinois River. This 2.9-mile hike varies in difficulty due to the large amount of stairs that need climbing. The dominant feature of Starved Rock can be found on this hike, via a narrow bluff that runs 4-miles along the south branch of the Illinois River. The park’s namesake towers 125 feet above the river, offering commanding views of the nearby islands and river. Some notable excursions include, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyon and Pontiac Canyon with sweeping views of the Illinois River.
Grand Levee and Harvest Festival
The Grande Levee is a celebration of the grand receptions held during the 1800s to honor government dignitaries and important visitors. Friday evening the event kicks-off with a ham and bean dinner on the Vandalia Statehouse grounds along with musical entertainment. Saturday brings a day full of events at the Statehouse grounds for the Ground Levee. The Harvest Festival, which is held on Gallatin Street, will have vendors, sidewalk sales, bingo, kids' activities, inflatables, RC race car exhibition and more!
Vernon Hills Golf Course
This golf course has been ranked as one of the top ten 9 hole golf courses in Chicagoland. Situated in Vernon Hills, this challenging 9-hole municipal course boasts small greens, rolling terrain, tight fairways and seven holes featuring water. Golfers of all skill levels will appreciate both the playability and the eye-catching views. The full-service clubhouse features a varied lunch menu, which is served all day and a full-service bar. Banquet facilities available for up to 80 people.
CITY: Vernon Hills
Des Plaines River Trail
Located in southeast Lake County near Vernon Hills, this crushed gravel surface trail is perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing. The trail offers a medium level of difficulty as it winds alongside tree-laden riverbanks, through dense bottom-land woods, adjacent to ponds and over footbridges. This trail links the Half Day Forest Preserve to the Wright Woods Forest Preserve spanning nearly the entire length of Lake County.
CITY: Vernon Hills
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one, but one not to pass up, as long as you’re up for the challenge. The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.
Autumn Festival - An Arts & Crafts Affair
At this annual fest, you can browse the works of more than 500 artists and craftsmen from 30 states. Find home decor and gifts (all handcrafted and one-of-a-kind), entertainment, and plenty of food and drink. Voted one of the top 100 art shows in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine.
CITY: Villa Park
Acorns Golf Links
Acorns Golf Links is located in Waterloo, Illinois featuring 6,701 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72 . The course rating is 72.3 and it has a slope rating of 125. You will not find subdivision golf at Acorns; just nature, beautiful scenery, challenging design, and you. Making Acorns the premier public course to test your game, have fun with good friends, or to get away from your daily hussle and bussle. Acorns features zoysia fairways, five tee boxes; matching every level of golf and large bent grass greens. Designed by William Ebeler, the Acorns golf course opened in 1997.
Honey Hill Orchard - Waterman
Honey Hill Orchard is a family-owned and operated orchard that was started as a hobby by Hawken Askelson in 1965. Today, the original orchard location has 2,100 apple trees, with an additional 500 trees at a second farm location. What started out as a simple farm stand has grown to include pick your own apples, raspberries and pumpkins, honey from Honey Hill's own bee hives, a bakery, the Apple Barn Country Store and some old-fashioned family activities. In addition to providing customers with quality products, Honey Hill Orchard gives families a chance to spend a relaxing time on the farm and create some great family memories and traditions.
Over 45 exhibits of native Illinois wildlife and domestic farm animals; tree-shaded picnic area - seating for 300; "Exclusive Use" facility rentals; private party room; open year-round.
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - Set among mature oak and hickory trees, lakes & streams, this full-service event facility with 27 holes of golf offers both 18 and 9-hole play and is nationally recognized as one of the best public courses in America. Cantigny Golf is a part of the McCormick Foundation, committed to making life better for our children, communities and country. As one of the nation’s largest public charities, we’ve granted more than $1 billion to organizations in local communities across the country. The golf course is part of the historic 500-acre Cantigny Park, where memorable family experiences happen. The grounds include museums, formal gardens and picnic areas.
Lynfred Winery's Tasting deVine
Founded in 1979, Lynfred Winery produces over 50 varieties of wine per year. Visit the tasting room and gift shop and enjoy.
This orchard offers in-season peaches, apples, pears and pumpkins.
Lynfred Winery & Tasting Room
Welcome to Lynfred Winery Wheeling, a satellite location for Illinois' oldest and largest, continually-operating winery. Since 1979, Lynfred Winery has been offering guests with great wine, food and lodging. We offer wine tastings, flights, and bottles every day of the week. We have received numerous awards for our wine, and we have countless events that go on throughout the year at the winery. We also have a variety of gift and gourmet food items.
Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant
Guests can view, and even dine, in our unique winery barrel aging rooms. Each location is responsible for barrel aging several varietals ranging from delicate Malbecs to sophisticated Cabernet Sauvignons.
Greene Gables Inn
Greene Gables Inn is perfect for couples wanting a weekend of total privacy. Guests may enjoy swimming, games, reading (great travel and historical books are available), or just conversation in the airy drawing room. Breakfast may be at a table for two, in the sunroom or join a group in the dining room. Greene County grazes contently near Scott, Morgan, Jersey, and Calhoun counties with views of Illinois.
CITY: White Hall
Rend Lake Golf Course
This 27-hole golf course, part of the Rend Lake Recreation Complex, was ranked as one of the best public courses in the Midwest by Golf Digest, which rated it 4-1/2 stars. Chicago architect Lawrence Packard designed the course with some fairways overlooking scenic Rend Lake. The on-site Seasons Lodge and Condominiums offers golf packages that let you stay close to the action.
Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center
Situated on Rend Lake in Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, this modern resort offers cabins and boat rental suites, courtesy boat docking slips, restaurants and more. Guests can enjoy golfing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and other water sports.
Heartland Rivers Wine Trail
Taste your way along this trail made up of unique wineries located in small towns throughout Southwest Illinois. Must-stops include Piasa Winery in Grafton, featuring live music on its riverside deck.
Baha'i House Of Worship
One of only seven in the world and the only one in North America, the Baha'i House of Worship is the largest and oldest surviving Baha'i Temple. Standing on the shores of Lake Michigan, the auditorium, with its walls of lace-like ornamentation and its dome rising 135 feet above the main floor, offers a scene of unsurpassed beauty. It is surrounded by exquisite gardens and fountains. This imposing and dramatic structure has received numerous design awards, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Edwards Apple Orchard West
Edwards West is a popular destination for families to enjoy the sights, tastes, and activities of an apple orchard and farm market. For a fun family outing, enjoy the experience of picking your own apples, pumpkins and raspberries. Visit the play area featuring the wooden bus and train, the corn cribs, the wagon slide and our animals in the "Petting Farm." Stroll through the over 100 year old dairy barn with displays of bright colored apples, freshly squeezed cider, fresh apple cider donuts, and wonderful gift items that are on display.
Artesian Well at Paradise Cove
Nestled along Indian Creek is a natural artesian well where thousands of gallons of pure water flow each day - as it has since 1927. A ten foot water wheel is turned continually by the flowing water. The site, which is accessed by Stephenson County's only covered bridge, includes a waterfall, large flower beds and gazebo to enjoy while sipping the bubbling water. Open: 7 am - 8 pm.
Bobber's River Tap
Bobber's is an open, outdoor, deck bar and picnic area, along the banks of the Pecatonica River. A relaxing stop for travelers by road or river. Bobber's is a converted 95 year old lumberyard. Bring your own pole and boat, or just sit and relax with a cold drink and watch the river flow by. Open: May thru October: Sunday: Noon - 10 pm; Thursday thru Saturday: 11 am - 1 am.
Quality Inn - Woodstock
Fifty-room hotel. Minutes from downtown Woodstock.
This u-pick orchard features 14 varieties of apples, plus rhubarb and raspberries. The Homestead's store is located in a century-old horse barn, stocked with homemade honey, candles, dried flowers, dried apple chips and more.
Autumn Drive in McHenry County
Welcome to a different kind of fall festival! Spend a leisurely day with family and friends on a real country road. Fourteen family farms in rural McHenry County, Illinois are open to the public for three days the third weekend in October. Each stop along the way offers a unique country experience. There are antiques, arts & crafts, pumpkins, and many surprises to discover along the way. Follow us on Facebook - facebook.com/autumndrive
All Seasons Apple Orchard
Take a wagon ride to the orchard where you will be surrounded by thousands of apples trees and 12 varieties of apples and pears. Enjoy seasonal activities like pumpkin picking and the corn maze. There is also a cow train, goat bridge, corn crib, giant swings, a spider web, jumping pillow and a petting zoo. The weekends even have pig races and a magic show for the kids. Take your whole family down for some apple picking and make sure to stick around for the many other activities.
Lyon Farm & Village
Features 15 historic buildings that trace the history of Kendall County plus an 1819 Chicago Burlington & Quincy caboose, a fully-stocked general store, an 1840s schoolhouse, town hall, a working blacksmith shop, the Plano Train Depot, (c. 1850s) and Yorkville Firehouse (c. 1888).
Lyon Farm Fall Festival
Quilting, wood sawing, butter churning, plowing, blacksmithing, hay baling and sheep shearing with all the trimmings that include hay rides, exhibits, crafts, classic cars and food. $5 adults, $2 children 7 and older, free 6 and younger.
Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area
A pool of clear bubbling water which sparkles like silver on sunny days provides the basis for the name of Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area. Even on extremely cold days, this pool does not freeze, and visitors marvel at the bordering beds of watercress. Majestic oaks and prairie grasslands provide a panorama of natural beauty to park visitors. The Fox River runs through this picturesque area which is also home to several small manmade lakes. A natural prairie restoration project gives visitors a feeling of the original landscape with native wildflowers, songbirds, waterfowl and upland game. Picnicking, fishing and hiking are popular pastimes in summer, with ice fishing, sledding, ice skating and cross-country ski trails available for the winter sports lover. For relaxing, exercising or just enjoying nature, Silver Springs is the perfect get away location.